2015 Western Reserve Football Preview

2015 Western Reserve Football Preview
Head Coach: Andy Hake, 7th season (64-11)
2014 Record: 11-2 (6-1), ITCL Lower Tier
5-Year Winning Percentage: 85.9%
Division/Region: 6/19
Returning Offensive Starters: 3
Returning Defensive Starters: 9

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2014 Team Stats
Rushing Offense: 157.4
Passing Offense: 150.6
Total Offense: 308.0
Scoring Offense: 37.8 (3rd in Area)
Scoring Defense: 15.7 (10th in Area)

2014 Statistical Leaders
Rushing: Evan Nesbitt – 792 yards, 7.4 ypc, 11 TDs
Passing: John Clegg – 2167 yards, 51.8%, 23 TDs
Receiving: Joe Falasca – 42 catches, 844 yards, 12 TDs
Tackles: Kyle Hilles – 46
Interceptions: John Clegg & Brian Sunderman – 3

2015 Schedule
Aug. 27 – Columbiana, 7
Sept. 4 – at Malvern, 7
Sept. 11 – South Range, 7
Sept. 18 – Springfield, 7
Sept. 25 – at Wellsville, 7
Oct. 2 – Lowellville, 7
Oct. 9 – at McDonald, 7
Oct. 16 – at Jackson-Milton, 7
Oct. 23 – Mineral Ridge, 7
Oct. 30 – Sebring, 7

Key Losses: The Devils lost six First-Team All-League selections – Brian Sunderman, Evan Nesbitt, John Clegg, Joe Falasca, Matt Mace and Hunter Powell. Tim Coler and Nic Deal were also mentioned in the all-league consideration.

Key Returnees: Western Reserve returns a number of key players from last year’s playoff bunch including Ed Smith (2 sacks), T.J. Henry (21.5 tackles), Kyle Hilles (46 tackles), Brian Benyo (40.5 tackles), Jack Cappabianca (25.5 tackles, 2 sacks), Joey Stubbs (41.5 tackles) and Wyatt Larimer (206 yards receiving, 3 TDs).

Key Storyline: Nine straight seasons of winning records. Seven consecutive playoff appearances. Six years in a row of 9-win campaigns. Western Reserve has been the symbol of consistency. Coach Hake and his staff will once again be tasked with replacing many pieces to a puzzle which has been put back together in order year after year.

Strengths: As much as the Devils lost due to graduation, one has to be impressed by the amount of players who are returning on the defensive side of the ball with 9 starters. Aggressive players such as Jack Cappabianca and Joey Stubbs make us believers in the program’s depth not just as a whole but on defense especially. Cappabianca made 8 ½ stops behind the line of scrimmage in 2014. Stubbs was involved on 7 of those tackles. Brian Benyo made five for a loss as well. The Devil defense allowed an average of 231 total yards per game during the regular season last fall.

Weaknesses: Coach Hake has a nice nucleus of assets returning on offense with Larimer, Smith, Stubbs, Cappabianca, and Henry all back in the mix. However, there has to be some concern over the amount of production Reserve lost from last year’s group. John Clegg threw for 2167 yards and rushed for another 465 stripes last year. Evan Nesbitt gained 88 yards rushing per game while Joe Falasca (42 catches, 844 yards) and Brian Sunderman (32 catches, 712 yards) could’ve been a #1 receiver for more than half of the area teams. The loss of Hunter Powell and Matt Mace across the front line is a big blow also.

Game to Watch:October 9 at McDonald
…Even with a tough non-conference schedule, the game we point to is week seven at McDonald. Last year, Reserve fell in a 14-12 contest snapping their three-game win streak. Since 2010, four of the six meetings between these two powerhouses have been decided by six points or less. The 2013 showdown was a 10-point win for Western Reserve (24-14).

New ITCL Blue Division
Mineral Ridge
Western Reserve

Odds and Ends
…Western Reserve has not lost in September since 2007 (Sept. 28, 2007 to McDonald, 17-13). During the week of September 24 (2007) – gas prices were almost in line with what it is now – $2.81 (2007). The Indians’ manager was Eric Wedge. The Pirates were led by Jim Tracy. The Steelers were 3-0 and the Browns were 1-2. Both would finish the season with a 10-6 mark. Sixteen months until Barack Obama would take office as the 44th President of the United States. Reserve has won 29 straight in the month.

Recent League Finishes
2014: 2nd ITCL Lower (6-1)
2013: 1st ITCL Lower (7-0)
2012: 1st ITCL Lower (7-0)
2011: 1st ITCL Lower (7-0)
2010: 2nd ITCL Lower (6-1)

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